As we're gearing up for our next retreat in Detroit, we've been thinking a lot about the Ticco members who are shaping that community. Andy Kopietz is Principal of Good Done Daily, a graphic design studio serving philanthropic, non-profit, cultural, and civic organizations throughout Detroit and Southeast Michigan. We asked Andy to share a few thoughts on his work!
Ticco: What aspect of improving our cities or communities are you most passionate about right now?
Andy Kopietz: Recently I met up with policy makers, urban planners, non-profit leaders, and architects for a professional gathering. We were asked to pair up and address a tactical challenge - the activation of an inhospitable space. My teammate Elizabeth (who is an architect) changed my understanding of 'placemaking' by redefining the term as 'placekeeping.' That lit up my brain in a special way!
The idea that we can restore peoples' power with this change in language matters - the people who live in a community are the ones who influence and shape our understanding of that place. But often, those of us who work in community building enter into our projects as 'experts' who are tasked with making a place 'better.' We're asked to look for deficiencies and solve problems instead of seeking out assets. I feel this is the wrong way to think about our work.
We're not just making a place - we're co-designing strategies to enable people to live the life they choose. This redefinition of 'placemaking' as 'placekeeping' has really challenged me to think more deeply about the work I do, including how design can positively shape places and how I can better support that process.
T: What projects are you most excited about at the moment?
AK: My team is excited about an exhibition we designed for the City of Detroit's Department of Planning & Development, which was installed at the Chicago Architecture Biennial in September. It takes a look at Detroit's strategies for vacant land as well as the Department's methods to engage community stakeholders in the reanimation of land, development, and public spaces.
We're also fortunate to be working with a group of city planners on Detroit's Master Transportation Plan, which explores opportunities to make our streets safer for pedestrians. The plan will shape decades of mobility across the city. In our role, we're developing tactical tools and visual communications to engage residents in the master planning process.